When it comes to deciding whether they want their shipping fast or free, shoppers overwhelming prefer not to pay. In fact, 88% of shoppers said free shipping is more important than fast shipping, according to a holiday survey from Deloitte.
As many as 72% of surveyed shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping offers this season, while 65% believe they should be allowed to order after Dec. 17 and still get free shipping.
Despite the desire for free shipping being top of mind, the customer definition of “fast shipping” is faster than ever before: More than half (54%) of holiday shoppers said they define “fast shipping” as two days or less. Just 35% consider three- to four-day shipping “fast,” down from 42% last year and 63% in 2015.
With these increased expectations come a reluctance to pay more for expedited shipping: 64% say they would not be willing to pay extra for two-day shipping. Respondents indicated they would pay, on average, just under four dollars ($3.80) to guarantee next-day delivery.
Shipping even affects how people view buy online/pick up in-store. Shoppers list shipping charges (62%) as the chief reason to buy online/pick up in-store, followed by 48% who said they do so to get the item faster. Home appliances (45%), electronics (43%) and clothing (43%) top the list of categories shoppers plan to buy online but pick up in the physical store.
Shoppers not only want to see shipping improvements; they expect retailers to improve their returns processes. For example, 67% of consumers want retailers to provide an option to return an item to any store location, while 63% say they want refund options other than store credit.
More than half (51%) of survey respondents said they want a longer return window around the holidays, ranging from 30 to 90 days, and 41% want the option to return without a receipt.